MPI Media Group’s new arthouse distributor debuts with a seven-strong roster led by Guillaume Canet’s follow-up to Tell No One starring Oscar winner Jean Dujardin (pictured) and Marion Cotillard.

MPI Media Group evp Greg Newman will oversee the new venture, which will specialise in the release of foreign-language arthouse films, high-end genre and American independents.

The line-up includes Mathieu Demy’s drama Americano starring Demy and Salma Hayek and Eric Lartigau’s thriller The Big Picture with Romain Duris and Catherine Deneuve.

MarieTherese Guirgis becomes head of theatrical distribution and will be on the ground in Cannes next month scouting for the pipeline with Newman. Guirgis told Screendaily the company would look to support appropriate theatrical releases with launches in at least the top 20 markets prior to possible expansion.

“This is a pretty diverse slate and the nice thing is we can do what we want because this is a family-owned company,” Guigis said, adding: “All these movies have their selling points.” The goal is to release in the region of six to eight films a year.

Distribution executive Emily Woodburne and marketing executive Dan Goldberg have been brought in to help oversee the initial slate.

“The audience for commercial foreign-language and independent films remains a flourishing niche in the marketplace,” Newman said. “With the launch of our theatrical division we have the ability not only to release completed feature films that we acquire but also to release our own original productions.

“The commercial appeal of all our films reaches across all distribution platforms from theatres to Video On Demand, digital, DVD and beyond. MPI Pictures allows us to expand our reach in the marketplace with integrated in-house marketing, publicity and distribution in all media.”

Americano will open on Jun 15, Little White Lies on Aug 24 and The Big Picture with Catherine Deneuve and Niels Arestrup in October.

The roster includes: Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker’s MMA documentary Fightville, set to open on Apr 20; Brian Crano’s drama Bag Of Hammers starring Jason Ritter and Rebecca Hall on May 11; Victoria Mahoney’s drama Yelling To The Sky with Zoe Kravitz and Gabourey Siddibe in January 2013; and Maarten Treurniet’s thriller The Heineken Kidnapping starring Rutger Hauer in February 2013.